Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quiz July 27

Our last quizzes. Next week, a 20-question exam extracted from the quizzes, good for one run per correct answer. Final reports will also be worth up to 20 runs.

1. The servant in Promenade de Paris advises against a natural approach to what?

2. "Generalized prostitution" is another name for what, according to Walter Benjamin?

3. Who celebrated walking as testimony to mystical presence?

4. What reconciliation leads to a joyous lassitude?


  • Do you find urban walking "subversive" in a way that a nature hike is not? 177
  • Does walking (among other physical activities) literally keep us "grounded"? If this helps explain why so many historical philosophers have walked, what explains why so many contemporary academics never seem to leave their seats and their offices except while teaching?
  • I don't find anything appealing in Gros's description of the gossips, the pseudo-intellectuals, the petty merry-go-round walkers (etc.) at the Tuileries (172). What am I missing?
  • Do you enjoy being alone in a crowd? Do you experience pleasure in such "out of synch" anonymity? 178
  • Does your mind speed up to a "higher agility" when your body slows to a flaneur's stroll? Do fast walkers (and runners) think less profound thoughts?
  • COMMENT on James's description of Walt Whitman"a sort of ideal tramp, a rider on omnibus-tops and ferry-boats, and, considered either practically or academically, a worthless, unproductive being... He felt the human crowd as rapturously as Wordsworth felt the mountains, felt it as an overpoweringly significant presence, simply to absorb one's mind in which should be business sufficient and worthy to fill the days of a serious man." This sounds like an American version of the flaneur. Do you find it attractive or decadent?
  • Do you feel more like a "consumer" in the city, branded and chained? 180
  • Is it true that walkers in the city never experience mystical Presences? 181 (See Alfred Kazin, A Walker in the City)
  • Gros is more conscious of his "finiteness" when walking, as a physical being subject to gravitation. 186 Are you?
This is a bit dizzying to look at, but it features terrific readings and additions to our growing peripatetic soundtrack. "Walk a mile in my shoes..."


29-Worlds at War: Plato and Aristotle in the Violent Century
1. Who did Karl Popper blame for European civilization's 20th century betrayal?

2. What prominent Progressive philosopher/educator does Herman say believed government could help turn men into angels?

3. Who said the only truly progressive policy is a policy of individual freedom?

4. What Russian emigre, praising Aristotle's legacy, said there's one objective reality and that it can only be perceived via the senses?

  • Must we choose between a strict dichotomy of EITHER a centrally planned economy OR an unrestrained free market? Can capitalism as we've known it address and satisfy our largest shared long-term interests and challenges (such as climate change)? 
  • What do you think of Hayek and Rand?
  • Was the Soviet dissident Solzhenitsyn wrong about Vietnam? 558
  • The "open society" may be more threatened now than in Popper's day. Is "historicism" as he defined it the underlying problem now? 538 Is history itself a reassuring response? (See SoL video...)
  • Who are Darwin's true "disciples"? 539 Does an evolutionary view of life in any way threaten the stability and security of open, democratic societies?
  • Must communitarians be "perfectionists," as Herman characterizes Plato and Hegel? 541 Or can they accept the fallibility of human institutions and urge greater compassion and respect for individuals?
  • Is it more perverse to deny that we can learn from experience, or to insist that some philosophers (like Hegel) actually believed this? Does any sane human actually deny that experience is ever instructive?
  •  Herman takes a brief, unelaborated sideswipe at John Dewey's progressivism in education. Do you think that's warranted? 542
  • Herman mentions Royce's "fierce" opposition to James's Pragmatism, but they were friends, neighbors, and friendly antagonists. Have we lost the ability to respect and love our intellectual foes?
  • What do you think of Teddy Roosevelt? Woodrow Wilson? 544
  • Do you agree that markets are NOT places where people pursue self-interest? 549
  • George Orwell was a committed socialist, as well as an enemy of the enemies of the Open Society. What would he say about Herman's mention and use of him? 551
  • Do you agree that the New Deal did not "lift the country out of economic decline"? 552

Conclusion-From the Cave to the Light
1. Who does Herman say got "too much Aristotle too soon"? 

2. What's the result (ac'ing to H) of "too much Plato"?

3. What familiar environmental slogan does Herman consider Platonic?

4. Current debates over climate change and economic growth reveal our need for what?

  • Do you accept both "Plato's insight" and Aristotle's "plan"? (564)  Is the "tension" between them, and between "our material and spiritual selves," healthy and constructive? How would you relate that tension to Herman's 21st century "compass" events? 
  • Is Saddleback Church a good illustration of our contemporary "spiritual needs," or a good place to address them?  
  • Where are you now, on the Plato/Aristotle spectrum, compared to when we began in May? Do they complement one another? If we agree that they need each other, does that imply that empiricism and rationalism need each other too? Why? How?
"...our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life... But because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global." Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate
Rand @dawn... How Capitalism should be reformed... "Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism?" (Kolbert on Klein)... Russell's Case for Socialism... SoL: How to Improve Capitalism (video)... What is Good Business?... Adam Smith’s Underappreciated Wisdom on Benevolence, Happiness, and Kindness (Brainpickings)

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